Folens backs new venture fund for e-learning start-ups

20 Mar 2013

Educational publisher Folens is backing a new boutique investment fund called the Leaf Fund that aims to invest between €250,000 and €1m in early stage learning technology companies.

Globally-focused Leaf works closely with Enterprise Ireland and is led by principals Alan Maguire, Jonny Parkes and Hugh O’Driscoll.

Leaf is looking to make the investments over the next two to three years. The learning technology sector is experiencing significant growth, as demonstrated by the e-learning market which was worth €91bn in 2012 and is forecast for an average growth rate of 23pc up to 2017.

In 2012, Leaf backed two businesses, Empower The User (ETU) and StoryToys. In December 2012, ETU, a leading provider of role-play simulation technology for the training and assessment industries, secured more than €500k in funding from Leaf Investments, Enterprise Ireland and private investors to expand its sales operations in Europe. 

StoryToys, inventors of the first digital pop-up book, has also received early stage institutional investor funding amounting to €750,000 from a syndicate of investors including Leaf Investments. StoryToys has quickly established a position for itself as one of the leading providers of ‘edutainment’ apps for iPads, iPhones and personal computers, with its portfolio of 3D interactive digital story books for children.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years